2011 Reads

Book 7 – Virus of the Mind – Richard Brodie

So I want all the folks who graduated high school and college prior to 1977 who know what a meme is to raise their hands! Did lots of hands go up! If they did then you’re better than me. Until I read Richard Dawkins The God Delusion I did not know about memes. But now after reading that book and Book Number for 2011 Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie I know a little more about this basic unit of cultural transmission and imitiation and memetics which is the study of the working of memes, how they interact, replicate and evolve. A meme (rhymes with cream) is an idea that forms itself into a distinct memorable unit and then is spread through a culture. They are the cultural equivalent of the gene. The term was coined by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene. Memes can exist concerning any thing in life like danger, fear, sex and religion. Those that are best at replicating themselves keep evolving while others don’t far as well and are replaced. An example would be the Roman and Greek Gods for many years their memes were strong and dominated the culture but when science explained things they lost their ability to replicate and soon faded. Likewise religions like Mithra-ism a and other pagan religions flourished and died, while the memes of Christianity and Islam continued to replicate and be spread.

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Book 4 – Ghost Country – Patrick Lee

So this week has been work filled. Like I said earlier in the week after being on furlough last week I was working with the drilling department this week. I spent my work days, which started at 7:15 am, in Philly in the area around the intersection of Girard and Lancaster Avenues. Throw in back to back nights at Target until 11:00 pm and by the end of work last night I was beat! The only good thing was that there were periods of the day when I had to wait to take readings on the percolation test so I got to read! I took a paperback that I had picked up at Borders with my gift card that Andrew gave me for Christmas, so Book 4 for 2011 became Ghost Country by Patrick Lee. The book is actually a sequel to Lee’s first book The Breach and by the time I figured that out I was too far along and the storyline so engrossing that I couldn’t stop. If I had it to do over I would read The Breech first!! Anyway this book starts with Paige Campbell an employee of Tangent Corporation, a company that monitors strange entities that come through the Breach.  Some seem benign and others dangerous. As the book opens, Paige and her co-workers are returning from a meeting with the President of the US after showing him one of the entities. The motorcade that they are traveling in is attacked and everyone killed except Paige who is captured. Prior to that capture she gets a message to a co-worker Bethany to take the matching entity to the one Paige has and leave Tangent’s Border Town. Then she should  find Travis Chase, because he can help her. Exploring the entity Travis and Bethany discover that the entity opens a window that can be accessed to travel into the future. When Bethany and Travis use the entity,  they see a US about seventy years in the future. The Washington DC that they see  is crumbling  devoid of people and cars! It appears that the event that caused the havoc is just four months away! That knowledge sets Travis and Bethany on a mission to save Paige and the world!!!

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Book 3 – The Lost Throne – Chris Kuzneski

By Chris Kuzneski

Book No 3 for 2011The Lost Throne by Chris Kuzneski is the fourth book of five in the Jonathan Payne David Jones series and it’s a good one.  I love books that are based on history and teach me something! This one certainly did!  After seven monks are brutally killed at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Greece, Nick Dial, head of Interpol’s Homicide Division is called to investigate the crime. Video footage of the murders reveal that the murders appear to have been commited by Spartans!! Meanwhile ex-special forces officer Jonathan Payne receives frantic calls from a Richard Byrd in Russia who is afraid he is being followed and will be killed! After Byrd is murdered Payne reaches his assistant, a graduate archeology major at Stanford, Allison Brown. Brown, Byrd;s assistant was set to meet Byrd and leave Russia when he was killed. Payne sets out to rescue Brown and discover why Byrd was killed. The remainder of the story revolves around Byrd’s search for the The Lost Throne of Zeus and that puts Payne and his partner on a collision course with the murderers in Greece! The story was great the characters believable and likable and I am certainly going back to catch up on the series! But what did it teach me?

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Book 2 – 2011 The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower

So I finally finished the second book for 2011 and it was a Kindle ebook and non-fiction The Devil We Know:Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower by Robert Baer. Baer is an ex-CIA operative in the Middle East and considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Middle East.  The book chronicles Iran’s rise to superpower in the Middle East and the range of  their influence, which extends from control of southern Iraq to Lebanon and the Palestinians. At times the book is scary because you see that the policies of the US have only helped to extend Iran’s influence in the Gulf! But his final synopsis which has the US negotiating with Iran and maybe even becoming allies is potentially (in my opinion) the best course for US policy. The book also explains the differences between Shia and Sunni particularly as it comes to terrorism. The book is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in politics and US policy in the Middle East! I would certainly read another book by Baer and may pick up Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude at the library!!

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Book 1 – 2011 – Crush – Alan Jacobson

WooHoo! Finally I finished the first book of 2011 – Alan Jacobson’s Crush. It was another book read on the Kindle. I am also reading on the Kindle The Devil We Knew by Robert Baer a book about Iran that we gave to Peter for Christmas, that is really good! Anyway back to Crush. The novel is set in the wine country of California and is the second book in the Karen Vail series. Karen Vail is a profiler who works tracking serial killers. The first book is The 7th Victim, which I saw at Barnes and Noble a while back and made a note on my phone about to look for at the library. But when I got the Kindle I checked out some of the books that I had made notes about and there it was it was for a good price but Crush was a better price FREE! So I’ve read the series out of order!

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Books 43 and 44 – Davidson and Levine

So 2010 ends with 44 books read down the stretch I finished two books No 43 was “LEAP “What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives” by Sara Davidson. Conducting over 150 interviews from 2003 to 2006 Sara Davidson has crafted a book that explores what us boomers will be facing as we approach the later parts of our lives. From the dust cover ” she explores such questions as:

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